Teenager fell four floors to her death in tragic accident

By Jonathan Humphries

An 18-year-old student fell four floors to her death in what a coroner concluded was a tragic accident.

Ella Halliday, from Stratton Road in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, was a student at Liverpool John Moores University when she died on June 1 this year.

Ella fell from her student flat in the Irwell Chambers building on Union Street, Liverpool City Centre, shortly before 10.40pm and died instantly.

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A short inquest into her death, held today at Gerard Majella Courthouse in Kirkdale, was told Ella was heard speaking to a man in the flat before her death.

Merseyside Police had initially arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of murder, but he was later released and the force confirmed he will not face any criminal charges.

Andre Rebello, senior coroner for Liverpool and Wirral, told Ella's family the police investigation had concluded that "no-one was near Ella" when she fell.

Irwell Chambers on Union Street, Liverpool, where a woman fell to her death on Monday, June 1 (Liverpool Echo)

A pathologist concluded the cause of her death as severe blunt force head injuries "consistent with a fall from height".

Mr Rebello said: "The injuries are such, I think four floors into the atrium Ella has fallen, and given the head injuries I am certain she would have been unconscious immediately and she would have known very, very little about the incident."

The court heard that Ella had a moderate level of alcohol in her blood, but not an amount that would be unexpected if she had been drinking socially that evening and "certainly not excessive".

Describing the fall, Mr Rebello said: "There's a witness who had heard the exchanges within Ella's flat and he could see the railings in front of [the flat].

"As he was sitting there looking in the direction of [the flat] he heard Ella state 'I'm going to jump'. He saw Ella had her hand on the balcony and fell over.

"There's no mention of anyone being near her at that time. Ella had had a drink and what we don't know, and I can't ask her, is what she meant by 'I'm going to jump'.

"Was this part of the conversation she was having with the person inside the flat or was it her intention to fall to her death?

"I have got to treat things on the balance of probabilities when she put her hands on the rail and she is seen to fall.

"That could easily have been an inadvertent fall from a position, for want of a better word, when she was negotiating with the person in the room.

"I have always looked upon this incident as a most tragic accident and that's where the general thrust of the evidence leads me."

No further evidence was shared in open court regarding the exchanges with the man in the flat.

Mr Rebello recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

Ella's family did not wish to comment after the hearing, but a funeral notice placed in their local paper the Huddersfield Examiner at the time of her death stated: "Ella is loved by many people and will live forever in our hearts."

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